Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 3

Another post from my old Marvel blog in which I answer questions posed by the readers of the time.

Reader Questions 3

February 25, 2010 | 5:22 PM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

Sorry for the delay of game on this, folks–we had some technical issues that stymied us. But hopefully, we’re back on track now!

Before we get started on answering more questions, I just wanted to let everybody know, especially all of the past Tradees out there, that the Hero Initiative is beginning to auction off all of the books they received as part of the Take My Trade event here on this blog. The first flight of books went up today, all of them CGC certified and signed by Stan Lee and (in appropriate cases) John Romita Sr. You can see the books currently available and bid on any you might be interested in at Each one comes with a Certificate of Meaninglessness filled out by me, and any money you spend will be going directly to a worthwhile cause!

>In practical, everyday work terms, what changes have occurred or will occur due to your new promotion? In other words what new challenges and opportunities are you facing in comparsion to what you did previously?

Posted by Mon Morn Lunatic on 2010-02-05 20:23:16>

It’s still very much the same sort of stuff I was doing before, just perhaps a bit more of it. I still edit a bunch of titles directly, and I still oversee the efforts of a number of other editors, dividing up the staff with Axel Alonso. The difference now, really, is that, with Joe Q being pulled in all sorts of directions-he’s been travelling almost constantly since the beginning of the year, to meet with assorted executives and go over larger synergies-more of the immediate responsibility for keeping the Publishing department on track falls to Axel and myself. We’re now called upon more and more regularly to approve cover sketches, read out and sign off on final issues, and make judgment calls about story directions and content. It’s all stuff we’ve dealt with before, but now it’s resting more directly on our shoulders.

>What is your favorite Osamu Tezuka book? >

I became familiar with Tezuka’s work through animation first, so it’s no great surprise that I like Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy probably the best. I also have a real soft spot for his Phoenix 2772 film.

>What was the script that you read that made you post a few weeks ago about emotional validity?

Posted by kyle-latino on 2010-02-05 20:38:44>

Can’t tell you just yet, as it’s not close to being released as a comic. But when we get to that point, I’ll try to remember to say so.

> Crossover issues seem to have problems syncing up properly to other ongoing titles. For example, the ending of Dark Wolverine #82 had nothing to do with Seige #2. How does Marvel account for that?

Posted by OptionalPlayer on 2010-02-05 21:54:19>

In that specific case, I would say “Read DARK WOLVERINE #83”, and you’ll see that it synchs up just fine. And in general, I think we’ve done a good job at making events line up as they need to. I don’t insist that all of the tie-ins to an event like SIEGE happen directly in lockstep with SIEGE itself, any more than I did with SECRET INVASION or CIVIL WAR. So long as the tie-ins don’t jump the gun and reveal things about the main storyline ahead of time, I think it’s fine for them to play out on their own schedule and with their own rhythms. In the case of DARK WOLVERINE, there are three tie-in issues, and SIEGE is a four-month event, so you’re going to get a certain amount of a discontinuity right there. And there’s only a single NEW MUTANTS tie-in issue. What’s most important to me is making sure that the tie-ins all contain a good, strong story that’s tangibly connected to the larger event-that’s what’s going to make people happy and make them feel that they’re getting their money’s worth.

>What do y’all have in mind for digital download distribution via the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad? IMO, the revenue @ 99cents per backissue would far surpass your read only digital site revenue. I know I’d spend a lot more than $60/year to ‘own’ digital copies.

Posted by celticursa on 2010-02-05 23:15:47>

This is all territory we’re looking at and exploring, but when we’re ready to announce what we’re doing, it’ll be a bigger deal than just an item in my blog. As it stands, we’re already offering certain books and series through a number of platforms, and we’ll continue to investigate the possibilities that direct digital distribution offer to us. But it would be premature for me to say anything beyond that at this point.

>What’s the story on what Steve Rogers saw in Cap: Reborn #6? Is that seeding for a future storyline? >

Yes, possibly more than one!

>.And speaking of Steve, any hints regarding if he is the reborn Cap promised in the USA Today article about the Heroic Age? I would like to see him join the Avengers as just Steve Rogers or maybe the Captain.

Posted by moose967 on 2010-02-06 03:41:43>

I’m not sure offhand what the USA Today article said, so it’s tough to give you much of an answer at this point. For the time being, both Steve and Bucky are active in SIEGE. Beyond that, you’ll have to wait and see.

>The ads for Siege say “an event years in the making”. When Bendis started Avengers Disassembled years ago, was there really a plan that included secret war, civil war, house of m, iniative, dark reign, world war hulk, culiminating in siege? How much did it deviate from the original plans? And isn’t it kind of ambitious to be making a 6 or 7 year plan on a book when the average creator only stays on a book a year or year and a half? >

I think Matt Fraction described the process the best in a recent interview. He said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that it was like starting in New York and knowing that the place you want to get to is California, but not having a map of all the terrain in-between, and so there were detours and changes of direction and new opportunities that came up along the way. But the destination is something that we’ve been aimed at for a very long time, though we couldn’t have told you for certain just exactly when we’d get here-two years ago, we might have said at the end of SECRET INVASION. And sure, this is ambitious, but that’s part of what separates Marvel books from the rest of the pack. With dedicated creators like Brian Bendis having confidence in being around for the long haul, they can plan and plot out in longer and longer swatches of time, allowing for better story payoffs for those who’ve been on the ride all along without any of it becoming forced. You maybe couldn’t do this sort of thing with everybody, but when it comes to somebody like Brian, barring some crazy unforeseen circumstance, all involved were confident that he’d be around to see his vision through to the end and beyond. Because as you go, you invent more stuff, and so there’s now more track laid out ahead of us and new destinations off in the distance.

>As an editor (and executive at Marvel, congrats BTW), are you worried about the quantity of books published decreasing the quality of the books? When you look at lines like Hulk, Avengers, Iron Man, Wolverine, or Deadpool the number of monthly books have increased five-fold in just a few years. When I look at the Marvel line (and I buy 60-70 marvel titles a month), I see a significant decrease in the quality of the art especially. When Amazing Spider-Man has about a 50/50 shot of having art from a guy I’ve never heard of before, and really isn’t up to par with other A-list book artists, isn’t that a problem?

Posted by mcross76 on 2010-02-06 11:14:06>

I believe you’re only looking at half of the picture here, Mcross. While we’re doing more Hulk or Avengers titles, we’re not really doing more titles in general-our output of monthly releases has remained relatively stable over the past few years. We have our heavy months and our light months, sure, but we typically put out somewhere in the 60-70 titles-per-month range consistently. And so, I think this is just a switch-over of resources-the number of books we’re putting out hasn’t grown five-fold, not even close. But this has been the kind of question that fans have worried about since the days when Marvel was limited to no more than 8 releases a month. And the fact of the matter is that, while the odds increase that you’ll do a crummy book the more books you turn out a month, doing fewer books isn’t a guarantee of quality either. There were stinkers back in the 8-titles-per-month days too, and in every year since then. And, just speaking for myself, I don’t see the dramatic decrease in the quality of the books that you’re looking at (which isn’t to say you’re wrong, tastes vary of course.) For my money, Marvel still has the most consistent and best-looking line of titles in the business, and we work long hours every month to keep it that way. In the specific case of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, while I don’t agree with you about the caliber of the artwork there either (taste again, remember), the very fact that the series is released three times a month makes it far more difficult to keep anybody on it for too long. What would be a quarter of a year on any other series is used up in just one month on ASM, so it’s a particularly difficult beast to wrangle, and editors Steve Wacker and Tom Brennan have done an excellent job at it in my estimation.

More later.

Tom B

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